Digital employment. Interview with Ana Teodorescu, HR Manager certSIGN

1. What does the electronic signing of documents in human resources processes implies?

It is wonderful that today we can electronically sign any type of document in relation to our employees. This allows for remote signing – without the need to travel and an actual meeting, or without using the courier services to send paper documents. In the current conditions, the online electronic signing processes have helped us a lot, allowing both the employer and the employee to sign the necessary documents quickly and from anywhere.

I think the most important aspect is that all documents have the same legal value as the hand-signed ones due to the use of a qualified electronic signature in this process. Thus, certSIGN’s Human Resources department was able to work to a very large extent from home, managing the processes completely and correctly and, especially, very quickly. We enjoyed the comfort offered by the electronic signature, we minimized travel and we felt more protected.

Referring to all HR processes traditionally carried out on paper, including the process of hiring and carrying out employment relationships, we all know that all documents (eg individual employment contract, job description, performance objectives, additional documents, assessments, leave applications, etc.) are drafted electronically, then printed and hand-signed by both parties. Some companies go one step further and scan signed documents, doubling the physical personnel file with an electronic one.

By electronic signing them with a qualified certificate, the documents written in the electronic environment are electronically signed and remain archived in the electronic environment to the electronic personnel file of the employee, having original value. Thus, we optimize the human resources processes, which become faster and easier, and the employees benefit from modern flows, adapted to the needs of the technological society of 2021.

For electronic signing we need a qualified certificate and an internet connection, in the case of remote electronic signature. The qualified certificate can be placed on a token that we enter in the laptop or it can be issued in the cloud, in which case we electronically sign the documents through an application – for example our Paperless flowSIGN application.

2. What are the stages of a 100% digital employment process?

The main condition for electronically signing the documents related to the employment process is that both parties must have a qualified certificate. The documents are written and signed by the employer, sent to the employee for signature by email or through an application like Paperless flowSIGN, then archived electronically. And that is all!

3. How can the future employee obtain a qualified certificate, to electronically sign the documents?

The fastest is the online way, through which the future employee enters a video call with a certSIGN representative, and based on the identity document goes through a live identification procedure with a specially trained operator for such processes. This is a mandatory step in order to issue the qualified certificate that the future employee will use on the spot when creating the qualified signature required for the employment documents.

There is also the offline way, through which the person can come with the identity card to our office or to one of the partner offices where a certSIGN representative will make the physical identification and will register the data necessary for the issuance of the digital certificate.

4. How many people have been or will be employed at certSIGN in this way?

In the last 4 years, any new employee could choose between signing the documents in the classic, physical, pen-paper format or signing electronically. It is always up to them, but I can tell you that most have opted for electronic signatures. And when I say most, I mean more than 95% of employees.

5. How long does the hiring process take in digital format as opposed to the classic version?

Of course, the advantages of electronic signing are indisputable because – in terms of time and other resources involved (paper, printer, courier, internal folder, available rooms, availability of travel, etc.) – the advantages prevail here. Basically, from the moment we have the aptitude card issued by the occupational medicine and the personal documents of the employee, the employment documents are drawn up and sent on the signing flow. First to the employer, then to the employee. The transmission of the documents on the signing flow and their actual signing takes a few minutes and at the end all the documents have the same legal value as those signed by hand.

6. What are the advantages of the Paperless flowSIGN signing solution, in the hiring process?

As I said, distance barriers are non-existent. With an internet connection and a laptop or mobile phone, we can sign from anywhere, whether we are at the office or in any other corner of the world.

Signing time is very fast. Costs with paper, courier, archiving documents, etc. disappear.

After signing, the employee keeps the documents in the personal electronic archive, and the employer saves the documents in the employee’s electronic file, which is practically an electronic archive. Thus, we have ultra-fast access anytime and anywhere to documents and, perhaps most importantly, they are considered original documents, having the legal value of a handwritten signed document.

Security and opposability – no need to sign on every page! The electronically signed document only once becomes opposable to each party and ensures from a technical point of view that any change to it is detectable, so you cannot modify a document without the other party realizing it.

In addition, the Paperless flowSIGN application brings another great advantage – the fact that signing flows can be created.

If we were to give just one example – signing the liquidation note when an employee leaves – we see how time and actual work become substantially more efficient. The number of signatures to be stamped on a liquidation note increases in proportion to the size of the company and the multitude of processes in which an employee may be involved. Thus, we can reach 15 to 20 signatures.

With the help of Paperless flowSIGN a flow is created through which the document is automatically carried by the application from the first to the last signer, optimally, without human intervention.

7. How to perform SSM or SU instructions for example, in digital format?

With regard to compulsory on-the-job training or regular training on occupational health and safety or emergencies, they can be conducted online. Related materials can also be submitted online.

Regarding the signing of the OSH and SU Forms, the blue and red cards, unfortunately they still remained for signing in physical format. We were expecting a legislative regulation in this regard at the end of last year, but so far it has not come.

8. What are the limitations of using an electronic signature?

  • in case of using the remote electronic signature solution, an internet connection is required;
  • all signatories must have a qualified electronic signature and the document must be signed by them in electronic form.

9. Can the future employee be given the right to sign only for one day (or another limited period of time) until he/she can signs only the employment contract?

Yes, it is possible to use qualified certificates with dynamic validity. For example, it could have a short validity, only for the moment of signing those documents, on the order of minutes. Then the qualified certificate will expire but the signature on the document remains valid over time.

10. Can an existing employee be given the right to sign only for certain documents (eg an addendum to the employment contract) so that he/she cannot sign other documents on behalf of the company?

Yes, you can limit the purpose of using the qualified certificate. But practice has shown us that such a limitation does not help, because there are other technical ways in which you can protect yourself from this aspect. The basic idea of the projects started in the HR area of the company is to extend the electronic signature approach to the following processes. This stage occurs naturally when you realize that you have reduced from at least 3 days to a few minutes the signing of an additional act or employment contract.

You ask yourself, and this is where our customers testify, why not optimize the procurement area as well? Or the area of partnerships and collaborators? So, here’s the main reason why limiting the scope of the certificate doesn’t necessarily help.

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